Ed Driscoll

Hidin' On The Backstreets -- Of Hooverville

Scott Johnson of Power Line checks out Bruce Springsteen’s visit to the Twin Cities:

What did the songs have to say? They were heavy on the Depression-era themes that Bruce has been peddling since the Reagan administration. “Johnny 99” (1982) and “The Ghost of Tom Joad” (1995) were in some ways the heart of the show, with Nils Lofgren taking an inspirational solo on “Johnny 99,” as I recall. Springsteen threw in Stephen Foster’s “Hard Times” (1855, as Springsteen noted) for good measure, remarking that some things never change. That is certainly true in Springsteen’s case, for better and for worse. (The complete set list is accessible here.)

It was a funny kind of Depression we were living in during the Reagan era, with the recession created by the Carter-era stagflation followed by the sustained job growth and economic prosperity that commenced with the effective date of the Kemp-Roth tax cuts in January 1983. And it’s a funny kind of Depression we’re living in now, where 20,000 residents of the Twin Cities can afford to fill up the Xcel Center on tickets that must have averaged about $100 a shot.

Of course, while the clothes of America’s preeminent establishment rocker visually trap him in the 1970s, and his songs occasionally hearken back to the 1930s, he’s got a surprising admiration for a musician whose heart belongs to 1917.